California State Senator Andy Vidak hears High Speed Rail concerns from Fresno business

State Senator Andy Vidak's Fresno stop, on what he's calling a "Whistle Stop Tour," was the Cosmopolitan Restaurant and Bar. It's one of the businesses expected to be displaced by the California High Speed Rail project.
October 28, 2013 1:41:02 PM PDT
State Senator Andy Vidak's Fresno stop, on what he's calling a "Whistle Stop Tour," was the Cosmopolitan Restaurant and Bar. It's one of the businesses expected to be displaced by the California High Speed Rail project.

"I'm just talking to constituents, they are very concered about what's going on with High Speed Rail" Vidak told Action News.

Vidak met with "Cosmo's" owner Gary Lanfranco and a couple of other interested parties. They wanted privacy during the session and didn't want to talk on camera. Vidak saod they just have questions. "They're not getting answers. There doesn't seem to be rules. The rules are changing all of the time and they are in limbo. They are very, very, concerned."

The California High Speed Rail authority has been reaching out to answer questions. They have held dozens of meetings, like a crowded informational session in Fresno last week.

The rail authority partners locally with the Fresno Economic Development Corporation. Director Lee Ann Eager says the outreach is ongoing, but understands the concerns because the physical work on project is really just getting started. "Sometimes the questions are not being answered because there are not answers yet. The design builder was hired in July, They were just given the authority to proceed last week. Some of the timing issues, we haven't been able to answer."

But Eager says the information on when and where construction will start is coming. She notes two dozen business and property owners in Fresno have offers for their property from the High Speed Rail authority, and are in negotiation. But there are hundreds more to work with, just in the first 29 mile section of the project from Madera County through Fresno.

Vidak says he's listening to concerns all along the length of the proposed route through the Central Valley. "I'm hearing that in Kings County, Fresno County, we are just going to keep talking to folks, as many as we can, and we are listening to them."

Construction on the first segment of the system was scheduled to start in Fresno this summer. But groundbreaking has been pushed back until after the first of the year.


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